From Nature to Experience

Lundin, R. (2007). From Nature to Experience: The American Search for Cultural Authority. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Below you will find quotes I found worth noting from Roger Lundin’s book From Nature to Experience.


p. 3 “t primacy f experience became t premise _ t promise f pragmatism, t one genuinely indigenous philosophical movement American has ever produced.”

p. 4 “Within history original intentions often have ironic consequences, Bonhoeffer had come to realize, _ ideals look very different in the ripeness f their maturity than in t freshness f their birth.”

p. 4″I assess history _ comment on culture in this manner b/c I am prompted by a conviction currently out f intellectual favor. + s that ideas have considerable power within history _, to some extent, over its course. As they are transmitted over time _ across space through t artifacts _ labors f culture, ideas enlighten, terrify, _ inspire ppl. They can _ do drive ppl apart, but they also draw them together, across boundaries f race, gender, culture, _ time.”

p. 7 “…enduring importance f t question f authority for t advocates f pragmatism. As a system f thought, + emerged n t late 19th century, when many established sources fauthority were under question or attach, _ throughout its history + has attempted to solve t riddle f t role f authority n cultural life. By what means, if any, + has asked, can t moral life b grounded?

p. 7 “Emerson s t most important figure for my historical argument, but he is perhaps more vital as a hermeneutical key than he s as a causal force.”

p.8 “What I am convinced f, however, s that Nietzsche _ Foucault elaborate ideas that were tacit or latent n romanticism.”

p.9 “W/good justification, many consider biography t quintessential human effort to draw meaning from human experience. B/c they appear to b guided by t premise that experience must generate t standards by wch + s to b assessed, many moder biographies seem vexed _ confused by t limits f that experience.”

p.10 “At t center f my argument, however, lies t work f Barth, t foremost Protestant theologican f t past two centuries. Barth broke upon t European intellectual scene at t close f WWI w/a trenchant critique f t normative authority f experience _ t priority f subjectivity in 19th century theology. Forhalf a century, he argued that our knowledge f God _ t truth must b grounded in God’s own acts f sacrificial self-disclosure, rather than n t vagaries f experience or t mechanics f nature.”

p.11 “In a conversation many years ago, my colleague Mark Noll asked what might have happened if t road to t New World had led through Wittenberg rather than Geneva. How would t narratives _ metaphors f t American experience have been differnt, that s, if t bedrock for t culture had been a Lutheran theolgy f t Cross rather than t covenantal system f Calvinism?”

p.11 “Gadamer may b t most influential hermeneutical thinker f t last century, but his work appears largely at t margins f English studies, despite t brilliant efforts f such scholars as Gerald Bruns _ Joel Weinsheimer to draw him closer to t center.”



Faith Can Fine Tune

13 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written,
“I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE,” we also believe, therefore we also speak,
14 knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will
present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. 17 For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

II Corinthians 4:13-18

I discovered these rich sermon notes when doing some cleaning at the house. The sermon was from Dr. Wayne Fulton and I’m thinking 1995 time period.

Title: Faith Can Fine Tune…

vs 13 – Our speech…on the mountain top and in the valley
vs14 – Our stability (assurance—see also II Cor 1:9-10)
vs15 – Our steadfastness (stick to it attitude)
vs 16 – Our strength…outward man perishes, but the inward man renews in Christ
vs 17,18 – Our sight…light affliction is for a moment, but weight of glory is eternal

I miss Dr. Fulton whose humble wisdom and love for Christ eternally changed me, but I’m grateful for little nuggets from his sermons.

Joel 1

A few observations from the book of Joel

Chapter 1


The word of YHWH came to Joel, as a prophet, declaring truth to the nation. The elders and inhabitants are encouraged to hear and listen. The story told by Joel is to be passed down from one generation to the next, because the utter destruction of the locust cannot be forgotten. A mighty nation has invaded and pillaged our land leaving our vines dead and fig trees splintered.

Wail / Mourn
The miserable devastation surely must feel like a bride mourning for the bridegroom of her youth. Worship has dissipated at the house of the YHWH and priests mourn due to the sheer loss and destruction. The vines and trees (fig, pomegranate, palm, and apple) have dried up, thus the rejoicing of our nation dries.

Gird / Lament
The ministers of the altar should wrap themselves in sackcloth, because the offerings are no longer possible to offer at the house of the Lord.

God through his messenger, Joel the son of Pethuel, was extending his mercy and longsuffering to his people who had forgotten him.


Joel exhorts the elders and all the citizens of Israel to assemble at the house of YHWH to be consecrated through fasting. Why? Because the day of the Lord is near with pending judgment ever near and the absence of joy and gladness.

The earth is cursed, because our seeds produce no grain and beasts groan with no pasture for food. The fields and trees have been destroyed by fire.

Everything within our existence pants for  you (e.g. people, fields, water brooks, etc.)

Reflecting back on vs 5-6 the consequences of drinking wine and not paying attention to the imminent threat of a nation soon to invade left Israel in a shameful position with nothing, but the human ability to cry out to God for help.

Can you hear me now?

Psalm 5:1-3

As is normal the Psalmist has been worshiping and waiting for YHWH in the morning, but he seems not to be heard. Who doesn’t want to be heard? The small child who clamors for their dad or mom’s attention by tugging their pant leg, pulling their finger, or in the last case scenario throwing a tantrum would like to be heard. The dad or mom whose teenage son or daughter ignores their parental plea would like to be heard. The employee who shamelessly asks tough questions, which the boss stealthily avoids would like to be heard. Strangely enough this feeling of not being heard can be experienced when communicating with the I AM. The Psalmist groaned and cried desperately for his King and his God to hear his words, but the unsettling silence proved unnerving. As humans an unnoticed or unrecognized response can lead us to fear and potentially panic.

Why? Why do we want to be heard so much? Why are we so desperate for others to hear us? Perhaps being made in the image of our Creator causes us to want to be heard because he wants to be heard?

Best practices: for an angry man to avoid sin

Psalm 4

Life is permeated with undesirable people situations that cause distress. The 21st century is not unlike any other era in that people have always been skilled at the art of destroying others. Observing or being on the receiving end of malice is disheartening and deserves loathing. Though the attack from others can be paralyzing the Psalmist provides a defense for the unsettling experience. Remember the attacks are futile because God’s righteousness is impenetrable. So what should one do in light of the barrage of attacks and purposeful destruction? Heed the Psalmists counsel…

1. Recognize your righteousness is in God

2. Pray and know that YHWH listens to the prayer of the godly

3. Enclose yourself in the proper place: your bedroom and ponder silently

4. Remember to worship YHWH

5. Though often elusive trust YHWH

6. Patiently wait for the light of YHWH’s face

7. Expect exuberant abundant joy

8. Safely and confidently rest in YHWH

Another persons desperate act to destroy your earthly identity is a failed attempt at dismantling your eternal identity in Christ. An exercise complementing the Psalmist’s counsel is to reflect on what he doesn’t suggest to do.

Resolved 17

As a young man Jonathan Edwards gave himself 70 resolutions to read weekly and pursue relentlessly. This 13th year of the 2nd millennium I have decided to reread and meditate upon his words, which so intrigued me as a teenager.

17 Resolved – That I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

Hmm – a keen eye on the end.